Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Canyon Road & Abiquiu
I've read that there are about 80 galleries on Canyon Road and another 120 sprinkled elsewhere around Santa Fe. You could see and buy 12th century Anasazi pottery, Tibetan Buddha sculptures, Contemporary art, Cowboy art and the mother load of turquoise jewelry.
I wandered into Ernesto Mayans Gallery at 601 Canyon Road to see the work of Natalie Goldberg, a writer who paints. Her work stand out for it's simplistic forms, attentive details and striking color. Natalie actually has the nerve to paint an adobe house blue! I had seen her work in her book, Living Color, and read how she began with a box of children's paints, the cheap kind that come 6 to a pack.
Her paintings make me smile. Maybe it's the vibrant color shouting out from the earth tones of the New Mexican landscape that attracted me at first. As I've seen more of her work either on her website or in Shambala Sun magazine, I am taken in by her keen observations of mundane things like a piece of pie or a chair. Her outdoor landscapes of trees and mountains are explosive with color and imagination.
So I was not disappointed when I saw her actual pieces. I was welcomed by Ernesto who left me alone to wander through the rooms filled to the brim with art. Natalie's work was displayed in a small room and I examined each painting to acquaint myself with the splashes of color and investigate the lines that tell stories as vivid as her memoirs.
I told Ernesto I was visiting and came specifically to see Natalie's work, but everything in his gallery drew me in. He offfered me a delicious chocolate cupcake that I couldn't resist and I knew I made a friend for life!
Later, I wrote in an email to him that I enjoyed my visit to his gallery because it was the least pretentious gallery I walked into. While I visited several others and saw a lot of decorative work, what I saw there showed what only could described as spirited.
Further along Canyon Road, you can see works of art imitating the "matron saint of New Mexican art", Georgia O'Keeffe. Well, it's no secret I'm a huge fan of her work. (read previous blog postings) I've been to the O'Keeffe museum many many times but on this trip, I wanted to get out in the landscape that she painted rather than take in the view in front of her canvases. So I paid a visit to Abiquiu.
Let me just preface my account of my visit to Abiquiu with this quote plastered on the wall of her museum: Where I was born and where and how I live is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest." Do you think she was telling me not to bother snooping around her property? You bettcha! But, I did anyway.
Anyone who admires O'Keeffe's work as much as I do, knows that you can't just show up in Abiquiu and walk around her place. Tours are arranged months in advance and maybe next time I'll do the "official" visit, but this time, I was on my own equipped with a guidebook titled: From Santa Fe to O'Keeffe Country: A one day journey through the soul of New Mexico by Barkin & Sinclaire.
Had I made this excursion while Miss O'Keeffe was still in residence, I am sure if she saw me peeking over her adobe wall to see her house, she would have verbally blasted me right back to my rental car. I am convinced that if I ever met the woman we would butt heads. She wasn't easy to get along with and any breach of her privacy meant that she would slam you good!
I was still determined to walk the walk! The turnoff at Bode's Store puts you right by the post office and around the curve to her backyard. I actually went passed her house and had to re-direct myself backwards because I thought it would be more remote than it actually was. Good thing it wasn't tourist season and tours weren't beginning until later in the week because no one was around except a few maintenance workers and they didn't scare me. I was careful not to enter private property, I just walked along the perimeter of her house. The view from her property was amazing and I stood there for awhile taking it all in so that the next time I stand before one of her paintings, I will make the connection that so moves me to be an artist. I get it! It's the moment of wonder mixed with the execution of discovery that makes artwork stir my soul. How wonderous!!
There's more but I'll save that for the next posting....